Rivers Governor Criticizes NBA President Over Call To Release Arrested Lawyers

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Nyesom Wike, the governor of Rivers State, has faulted Yakubu Maikyau, the head of the Nigerian Bar Association, and human rights lawyer Femi Falana for their calls for the release of All Progressives Congress (APC) lawyers who have been detained in the region.

The three APC lawyers are believed to have been working on a petition for Rivers APC in the March 18 governorship election when they were reportedly detained on Saturday, April 1 at a hotel in the state.

Falana requested Usman Baba, the IGP, to order the release of the lawyers while Maikyau denounced the detention.

Wike however said that the police should have been permitted to investigate the lawyers.

“There is nothing wrong if you have intelligence that people are producing INEC documents in a hotel and in the police arresting them,” the governor said.

“What we expected is for the police to investigate: Were they really printing INEC documents or not? And not for people to say, ‘They went and arrested lawyers that were preparing for election petitions.’”

“Does it mean because you say lawyers perpetrated it, therefore they cannot be arrested? Of course, I don’t take Femi Falana seriously. NBA president issued a statement that the lawyers must be released. It was so surprising,” he said.

“Why not say, ‘Police, if you say you arrested lawyers believing that you have intelligence on this, we’re giving you within 24 hours to make sure they are charged to court or you come out with a report’?”

“You can’t use us to be popular among lawyers because the NBA president knows that his own administration is not doing well,” he said.

“And so, the only way they can show that they’re doing well is by coming out to say, ‘Release the lawyers.’”